The Sixers have like 8,752 picks in tonight’s NBA draft, but only two of them are in the first round. And, since the lottery is the only thing that anyone in the mass media seems to care about, I thought it might be a good idea to
Chad Ford may be the guru of all things NBA draft, but what the hell does he know? Okay, a lot. But, there are few “normal” people in this world that watch as much college hoops as your resident BSB’ers, so I thought it made sense to throw together some thoughts about these guys strictly from a “how were they in college?” perspective. This won’t be a mock draft because I won’t pretend to know the thoughts or needs of each NBA roster, as they currently stand, it will be more of an assessment on how I see this guy’s skills and college performance translates to the next level. Oh, and if you doubt my credibility about this, just know that I am the guy that predicted Lou Roe would be a better pro than Marcus Camby. I would like to think I have evolved since then (I was 11 years old), but I guess that remains to be seen…
Think of this as kind of a quick cheat sheet on each guy, as I see it.
A ridiculous athlete that is getting unneccesarily ripped for his “motor.” Don’t get me wrong, I think motor (or whatever cliche you want to use for how consistently hard a guy plays) is INCREDIBLY important and almost always undervalued. I just think that we incorrectly associate “quiet” with lacking motor. That is NOT the case, and Wiggins has it. The dude scored 41 points in a game. Grabbed 18 rebounds in another. And, blocked 6 shots in yet another one. And, he’s a freaking wing player who is better on the defensive end than the offensive one. I think that he will either be the best or second-best player in this draft, depending solely on the health of Joel Embiid.
I love Parker’s offensive game. He will easily be the best offensive player from this draft. If you told me that he would average 20 ppg for his career, including a stretch of seasons at 25+, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. And, by all accounts, he’s a great guy. But, I watched him all year at Duke, and, honestly, the dude is going to get abused on the defensive end at the next level. Can he get better? Sure. Will he ever be a serviceable NBA defender? Maybe. Maybe not. What he will give you, though, is points, points, and more points. Which are always nice.
POTENTIAL STARS WITH QUESTION MARKS
If you told me that everyone in this draft was going to be healthy for their entire careers, then Joel Embiid would be as much a no-brainer #1 as we have seen since Lebron. When healthy at Kansas, the dude was ridiculous – and, not just athletically, but skillfully, as well. And, this is a guy who hadn’t picked up a basketball until about three years ago. If his body holds up, he’s got what it takes to be legendary. But, wow, is that a big “if.” Honestly, if I’m the Sixers at #3, I roll the dice.
Who knows? By all accounts, he’s an incredibly smart, heady player who is mature beyond his 18 years, but the question marks are there, particularly the lack of competition. But, he is 6’6″ and the son of an NBA player, so it’s hard not to fall in love with him. Plus, people do discount how good that AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) is. They are REALLY serious about their sports Down Under and that academy is ridiculous.
I LOVE Aaron Gordon. Part of me wishes the Sixers had the 5th or 6th pick instead of the 3rd because then they could stop this infatuation with Wiggins or temptation of Embiid and just snatch up Aaron Gordon and be happy. He will never be a big time scorer (don’t get swayed by the “Shawn Marion learned to score” because there is and always will be only one Shawn Marion), but the dude gets after it. He can defend and rebound on an elite level right now, and he’s only 19. Throw in the fact that he’s a total gym rat, and I think he will continue to develop into a ridiculously valuable NBA asset. I can’t imagine him falling past Brad Stevens at #6, but if he does get to the Sixers at #10, it will be a GREAT draft.
I also LOVE Julius Randle. Another guy who probably won’t be there at #10, but if he is – GO GET HIM. I heard someone say that guys who have NBA physicality and play hard are never busts. And, this guy has it. He is a grown man with who plays with his hair on fire. And, I don’t think we have seen his array of skills because Kentucky needed him under the basket, so he never got to show us his perimeter game, which, apparently, is rather refined. You could see his handle, though, and that was awesome. God, I love this guy. I don’t know if I would even have a problem taking him at #3. He’s awesome.
This stock has risen considerably since the college season ended and, frankly, I am not sure why. But, then again, the easiest way to tell an NBA fan from a college fan right now is to ask them the following question: “Randle or Vonleh.” Anyone with any fandom of the college game will quickly tell you that Randle is a beast and Vonleh is unimpressive. NBA fans or draftniks will be slower to answer and probably will say Vonleh because of his “skill set.” Well, all I can go on is what I saw at Indiana, and that was remarkably UNremarkable. I think the Sixers would be ecstatic to get him at #10 (of which, there is NO chance, from what I hear), but I really hope they don’t take him at #3.
I should let Doogan write this one, as he is as big a Marcus Smart fan as I know. And, for good reason. The issue with him is a slew of non-issues. All of the things you hear (particularly the Texas Tech incident) are certainly blown out of proportion. This guy has be lauded by everyone who has ever coached or played with him as an incredible leader and an incredible person. But, all of these “isolated” incidents in one INCREDIBLY disappointing sophomore season would be non-issues, independently, but put them together and you start to question his makeup. Well, you do. I don’t. I think the only two things that will keep him from being AT LEAST a decent NBA point guard are his abilities to shoot the ball and defend quicker NBA point guards. Not his makeup. Trust me.
MOST LIKELY SIXERS PICKS AT #10
I know nothing about this guy other than the fact that he could be REALLY good…after at least a year or two stashed overseas. I think he fits the Sixers at #10 pretty perfectly if they don’t luck into Randle or Gordon. I want this Saric guy – sight unseen – A LOT more than any of the other guys in this grouping, whom I think are all a little shaky.
I don’t know why, but I am not sold on Harris at the next level. I know that he is a good kid, who has a good all-around game, but I don’t like NBA players that don’t have anything that they do at an above-average level. He’s got average size and is an okay athlete. He shoots it well, but not spectacularly. He doesn’t have the handle to play regularly at the point. He is a good perimeter defender, but not a shut-down kind of a guy. He rebounds decently for a guard, but doesn’t strike me as someone who will make any difference on the glass in an NBA game.
I was pretty luke-warm – somewhat cold, actually – on Stauskas until I found out that he measured at 6’7″ and crushed the athleticism tests at the combine. Normally, I put almost no stock into those, but if you tell me that Stauskas is 6’7″ with borderline elite measurables in athleticism, I start to get intrigued. We have seen his shooting ability from the day he stepped on to the court in Ann Arbor. He is an elite jumpshooter. Then, this year, with Trey Burke off to the NBA, we got to saw some elite playmaking ability, as well. He also showed off an offensive game that was much more than just the shooter that he appeared to be as a freshman. We also got to see a real spark in him, personally. The dude has an attitude. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it is something. If I had to, I think I could really talk myself into Stauskas at the next level. I still have my concerns, but I think I would take him ahead of both Harris and McDermott.
There is almost nothing funnier than listening to how media “experts” talk about guys like McDermott. Inevitably, the expert either LOVES him and thinks he’s the next Larry Bird or HATES him and thinks he’s the next Adam Morrison. Occasionally, you will get the “measured” assessment of calling him the next Kyle Korver. I guess there really are no other possibilities for 6’9″ white guys who can shoot. Either they’re a white all-time great (“Come on, the guy scored 3,000 points and was basically unstoppable) or they’re a white total bust (“Come on, the guy wasn’t even good enough to be recruited in the Missouri Valley Conference – he only went to Creighton because his dad was the coach”). The reality is that other than his apparently distinct skin tone, his game doesn’t really resemble Bird or Morrison at all (and, don’t get me started on the LAZY white, Creighton alum Kyle Korver comparisons, because his game is NOTHING like Korver’s). Anyone who actually watched him play can see that the guy has a style that is pretty unique. People think he just roams the perimeter waiting for open jumpshots to take over guys 5 inches shorter. That’s NOT true. He actually spent most of his time with his back to the basket. Yes, he is a lights-out shooter from the outside, but he also has a really nice, refined low post game. All that being said, the dude couldn’t guard anyone in the Missouri Valley. We all loved Jimmer (oh god, another white guy to compare him to…but, bare with me). And, trust me, his game is NOTHING like Jimmer’s. But, remember when we said that there will always be a place in the league for a guy that can routinely score 20 a night? Well, Jimmer can score 20 a night in the NBA…and there ain’t no place for him because he gives up 40. I am scared that McDermott might have the same thing going against him here.
USEFUL ROTATION PLAYERS
I actually really like Young and think he will be a solid NBA player. I don’t think he’s even close to being worth the 10th pick and sure as hell won’t be there when the Sixers pick again at #32, so it’s a moot point from the Sixers perspective, but I think Young has a solid game that could transition well to the next level. What he needs is a little meat on his bones.
I’m not a huge fan of Ennis’s game at the next level from the perspective of a starting point guard, but I think he’s certainly capable of being a solid backup point guard, who can defend (we think, though we only saw him in the zone at the ‘Cuse) and distribute. He also has length and is a good character guy. Just don’t pick him thinking you’ve solved your point guard concerns. On second thought, I may have said the same thing about MCW a year ago…and, oh by the way, I might still say that today about the reigning rookie of the year.
ROLLS OF THE DICE
There are very few people who LOVE small-conference basketball more than I do. And, if you have ever talked to me about college hoops, you probably first heard the names Damian Lillard, C.J. McConnell, and Norris Cole from me. I LOVED all three of those guys and thought that they would all be really solid NBA players. (For the record, I also thought that guys like Tony Mitchell, Isaiah Canaan, and Eric Maynor would be solid NBA players…) Well, Payton should be right up my alley, but I really just don’t get the hype about him right now. Is he a solid perimeter defender? Yes. Is he the next Gary Payton? I seriously doubt it. And, even if he was a true lock-down NBA defender on the perimeter, his offensive game is just not very good. Trust me, I watched a decent amount of Ragin’ Cajun basketball this year. The dude can’t shoot and is a turnover MACHINE. He was a liability on the offensive end in the SUN BELT CONFERENCE. Do we really think he will ever be serviceable in the EASTERN or WESTERN CONFERENCE? As a late-first, early-second round flyer, he sounds like a GREAT pick. As a lottery pick (I have seen him going as high as #7 to the Lakers), even this lover of small-school basketball says NO THANKS.
I know literally nothing about this guy other than that he’s a legit big man. If you still think that those are important in today’s NBA, then he might be a nice late-first round pick.
The dude can flat-out score and might be the best pure shooter in the draft (with all due respect to Nick Stauskas). But, he was kicked out of UNC (not exactly the easiest place to get kicked out of…) and is apparently a pretty terrible person. If he had even an average head on his shoulders, he might be a legit lottery pick. But, I wouldn’t go anywhere near him if I were the Sixers, even as an apparent steal at #32.
One of the more bizarre players you will ever watch on a basketball court. First of all, he’s a 6’9″ point guard who looks like he’s playing in slow motion. But, he might be the best pure passer that I have seen at the college game in a really long time, and he has an INCREDIBLE basketball IQ. He is always at the right place at the right time, is a willing rebounder and can shoot a little bit. He kind of reminds me of a Pepe Sanchez a little bit on the offensive end. On the defensive end, well, he kind of reminds me of a guy who can’t guard anyone ever at all.
I really have no idea what to think of Hood at the next level. He is a decent shooter with size and is an adequate perimeter defender. He is also aggressive to the basket. But, I just don’t see any uniqueness about his game that makes me think that he will really make any impact. I’d take a shot on him at #32, though I don’t think there’s any chance he gets there. I think he is very similar to James Young, whom I think is a MUCH better prospect.
Don’t let one NCAA Tournament run fool you. McGary had an up-and-down college career with more downs than ups. Oh, and he missed his whole sophomore season because of a recurring back injury. His skills are enticing (mainly because he’s got that Kevin Love big man passing ability), but he’s really not worth taking a flyer because even at his best, he barely looks like a reliable rotation guy to me.
DOES COLLEGE TRANSLATE?
I don’t think I have ever seen anyone improve over their college career as much as Adreian Payne did. He turned himself into an elite college player by his senior year. And – one of the most amazing things I have heard – he played his whole senior year with mono. There is no doubt that Payne is a stellar guy with a great work ethic who has maximized his ability. But, that’s kind of the problem. Just like guys like DeJuan Blair and Jared Sullinger were, Payne is pretty much a finished product. Is that product good enough to get decent minutes in the NBA? Yes, I think so. But, there is no star potential here. He is what he is – which is a pretty good ballplayer.
We all saw the Shabazz on display in the NCAA Tournament. But, beware of over-hyping someone because of 6 games. Was Napier one of the better on-court leaders in recent collegiate memory? Absolutely. Did he play incredibly well on both ends of the floor? Without a doubt. Is that going to make him a superstar at the next level? Who knows. I know everyone loves leadership, and generally, it is for good reason. But, when it comes to jumping to the next level, not only do I think it’s overstated, but I think it might actually be dangerous. Shabazz Napier is a tremendous leader for a team where he is The Man. When everyone looks at him and says “you are our best player, we will follow you.” Is Napier going to walk into an NBA locker room and be the best player? Not even close (particularly in Miami, where he seems most coveted). Will he be the same kind of person playing 15-20 minutes, mostly without the ball in his hands, guarding the other team’s weaker perimeter player? I don’t know. And, neither does anyone else. I am not saying that he won’t be phenomenal as a role player, but are we really to believe that the character that it takes to lead is the exact same character that it takes to follow?
Adams is a terrific basketball player. Period. You are going to hear all sorts of things about his lack of athleticism and quickness. But, the fact of the matter is that if you’re trying to round out a roster of the best basketball players, I find it hard to believe that Adams won’t be useful. Will a 6’5″ shooting guard that can’t dunk be a superstar? Absolutely not. Can Jordan Adams be a useful 9th or 10th man? I think so.
He may have climbed too high to be called a “sleeper,” but the kid can flat out play. And, it is not like he should be an unknown, he was the 2014 ACC Player of the Year. And, the dude can flat-out score. He has deficiencies elsewhere in his game that makes it completely feasible that he is never even a regular starter in the league, but there is always room for a guy that is a decent ballhandler and defender, but can absolutely light up the scoresheet. 8 points and 2 assists in 15-18 minutes every night with at least serviceable perimeter defense? There are a lot of guys in the league that give you less. If he flips to #32, the Sixers should be elated to snap him up.
Now, this guy probably will constitute a “sleeper.” I love McDaniels. He’s a freak athlete, but also showed a surprisingly refined game this year at Clemson. Very few people know anything about him because the Tigers were bad (and run a crazy slow offense), but I actually thought he was more deserving of ACC POY than Warren. He is one of those guys that can do it all and probably play any of three positions (1,2,3) at both ends. Someone is going to be really happy with their late-first, early-second round pick here.
I admit it. Stokes is probably one of the many “big” men that are plenty big for even the biggest of college conferences and just not “big” enough for the NBA. That being said, as the league goes smaller, it is not out of the question that you can sneak Stokes into your lineup as an undersized 5-man. And, while he’s not really athletic enough to guard on the perimeter, he does have a decent 15-18 foot jumpshot. I think, given the minutes, I could see him scoring 8-12 points a night. And, we haven’t even talked about what makes him great (and will give him a place in this league) – he is one of the best pure rebounders that I have seen in a long time. He is one of those guys that just has a knack for rebounding. And, that plays on any level. I would not be surprised if Stokes is still getting decent minutes in the 2020-21 NBA season for someone. And, that’s value in the second round.
I like Clarkson a lot, actually. He is big and almost freakishly athletic, and he’s a better scorer than he seems to be getting credit for. I also think that people are underestimating his playmaking ability. This is another guy that the Sixers should RUN to the podium to draft if he’s still on the board at #32.
I have no idea if his game translates to the pros, but he was quietly AWESOME at Arizona. He was a quiet leader who can do just about anything you ask of him. While his offensive game is lacking all-around, he may grow into a killer on defense. I have heard nothing more than mid-second for Johnson, and I think someone may get a STEAL if they use a 2nd-rounder on him. I hope it’s the Sixers (don’t they have the whole second round?)
While I’m not sure if there’s a place for Johnson, I am sure that – if healthy – there is a place in the league for Dinwiddie. He’s a legitimate combo guard that can score from mid-range and beyond. A big guard with a supreme shooting touch and great court awareness should be in the NBA somewhere.
There is always room for a guy who can flat-out shoot. He’s not Klay Thompson, but he could be a poor man’s version. Maybe…
I love this kis and realize that he’s TINY. But, I think there’s a place in the league for a guy who distributes and scores the way he does. Will he get abused on the defensive end? Probably. I still like him.
I’ve seen him everywhere from lottery to backend of the second round. Either way, he should have stayed in school. He’s got bust written all over him as a first-rounder, and intrigure written all over him as a second.
Glenn Robinson III
I was just never impressed. He has all the physical tools (and obviously the bloodlines). And, I guess at #32, I’d be okay with it, but ehhh…
No thanks. Never liked him at OSU, and I have no reason to believe he’ll be any good at the next level.
I have no idea who this guy is. It sounds like he is a LONG way from playing here anyway.
Apparently, this guy has an NBA-ready body at 19. He’s raw, but promising. Sounds like he’d be a nice lottery ticket to own.
A skilled big man? That’s so European…
Here’s another one where I really have no idea. My instincts say he’s just too small to really make it in the league, but he has a fascinating versatile game that is fun to watch. I’m rooting for him, that’s for sure.
O’Bryant is a beast inside that should have stayed at LSU. He’s a project, but has a TON of ability. Take a flyer here; you may be glad you did.
Looked great in the tournament. Has tantalizing skills. Needed another year at UConn.
The dude can flat-out play. Not an incredible shooter, but a great athlete with good court vision and really knows the game.
After all, he is Russ-diculous.
Very cerebral player who has a versatile game that would probably translate somewhat. I wonder about his drive, though.
Hey, we haven’t really seen him healthy in two years. I don’t think he’s good enough, but it wouldn’t shock me.
Just a freak of an athlete at his size. I guarantee he’ll get a shot. And, he’ll probably screw it up because, well, that’s what he does.
Kane might just be one of those guys that is so good in college and just doesn’t have “it” – whatever “it” is – to stick in the NBA. But, trust me, this guy wasn’t just good his senior year at Iowa State, he was DOMINANT for three years are Marshall before that. He is almost the definition of a “do-it-all” point guard. He scores, he creates, he rebounds, he defends, and he leads. I would give him a shot on my team any day.
Here’s another guy who probably won’t make the league, and I won’t know why. What I do know is that someone, somewhere on this planet, will be paying C.J. Fair to play basketball for their team. But, it’ll probably be in Greece or Spain.
Kane’s teammate at Iowa State, Ejim is very intriguing to me. He’s big with a great scoring touch (he went for 40 one night this year). He’s probably too small to play inside and too slow to play outside, but he really can do both rather well. It’s a shame that he probably can’t do either well enough.
Crazy athlete with a dynamic game. He could use a couple more inches, but I wouldn’t be surprised (or upset if it were the Sixers) to see him taken in the mid-second.
James Michael McAdoo
Stay away. The dude stinks. And, the worst part about it is that he doesn’t care that he stinks.
Roy Devyn Marble
Probably simply not good enough to play in the league, but he’s got a great game and will score a TON of points overseas.
If he only played defense… McRae can shoot more than his bruising frame suggests. He could use a little more focus on his floorgame and a lot more attention to the defensive end. But, the kid might be worth a flyer because he has skills that very few human beings in this world possess.
Intriguing athlete with a crazy long wingspan. All you hear about these days is “rim protector” this or “rim protector” that. Well, he is a rim protector. He doesn’t really do ANYTHING else, but he does protect the rim.
This is another one that makes me sad to know that there is no room for Bryce Cotton in the pros. If Cotton can’t score 15 a night in the NBA (and, he probably can’t), then those pros are SCARY good because this kid is a scoring machine – who can also distribute rather well, when he wants to. He’s not a good defender and probably won’t make a roster, but I’ll miss watching him fill it up at Providence.
“Joe College Player” will be missed in the college game and almost assuredly won’t be missed from the professional game. Harris is one of those guys that I wish had like 8 years of college eligibility.